Norway has been a leader in efforts to stem CO2 emissions worldwide and has supported implementation of measures to aid developing countries in achieving U.N. goals of reducing greenhouse gases. To Norwegians, the health of our planet is a serious matter.
To prove just how serious Norway is about global warming, Eystein Kvarving, a spokesman for Norway's military announced on Tuesday that the Norwegian armed forces were being put on a vegetarian diet once a week.
Known as "Meatless Mondays," it is Norway's effort to fight a new foe, global warming. News media was assured this was not an effort to save money, but rather to save the earth by "cutting the consumption of ecologically unfriendly foods."
The new diet is already in place at one of the military's main bases, and will soon be in place with all units, at home and overseas. It is estimated meat consumption will be cut by about 150 tons annually.
It was through the efforts of "The Future is in Our Hands," a Norwegian environmental group that has been campaigning for "meatless Mondays" nationwide that the military went to vegetables once a week. The group's director, Arild Hermstad praised the military, saying: "The defense ministry deserves a lot of praise because it's taking climate and environmental issues seriously."
Norwegians, on average eat more than 1,200 animals in the course of their lives. This amounts to 1,147 chickens, 22 sheep, 6 cattle and 2.6 deer. Livestock farming worldwide accounts for almost one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, so Norway is working at chipping away at their part of the problem.
There may be another positive outcome for Norwegians eating less meat each week. US physician Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, a proponent of the vegetarian diet, cites an incident that occurred in Norway during WWII.
The occupying German army took away all the peoples livestock, leaving them to eat vegetables. An unforeseen result of this action was a sharp reduction in heart disease and stroke in the population. Dr. Esselstyn says we should avoid "any food that ever had a mother or a face."